By Jeff Nations
Katy Harriman is ready to set the bar higher, and that's no cliché.
OK, it is a cliché, but in Harriman's case it is absolutely and entirely appropriate. The Warren County senior high jumper has long had her eye on what once seemed an unfathomable height -- clearing 5 feet, 2 inches during a meet.
Harriman could do it, Wildcats coach Kennon Yeck knew that for certain. After all, she'd done it more than once in practice. The trick, of course, was doing it when it actually counted for something.
At last Saturday's Apple Blossom Invitational at James Wood High School, Harriman got it done with a 5-02 leap that netted second place at the prestigious annual meet.
"Finally -- it's been a long time coming," Harriman said. "I'm glad to finally make it."
Harriman might have been focused on the high jump, but that didn't stop her from contributing in other events for the Wildcats at the Apple Blossom meet. She notched a first-place finish in the long jump at 15-04.75 and scored a fifth-place finish in the 300 hurdles. Harriman accounted for all 20 of Warren County's points, good enough to lift the Wildcats to 10th place in the 18-team girls competition. For her efforts, Harriman is the Northern Virginia Daily's Female Athlete of the Week for April 21-April 27.
"She's been improving a lot," Yeck said of Harriman. "Her confidence has been rising, especially in the hurdles."
Harriman's rapid improvement in the hurdles has been impressive, considering she'd never tried the event before Warren County assistant Steve Crist convinced Harriman to give it a go this year.
"She was a little hesitant at first," Yeck said. "She finally decided to go for it, and she seems to be comfortable now."
That was evident by her fifth-place finish in 49.98 at the Apple Blossom, which was just her second time ever competing in the hurdles.
Then there was the win in the long jump, again just her second time -- this year, anyway -- competing in that event. Her winning jump wasn't quite up to her seeding distance (16-01.75), but still good enough to earn the Wildcats the maximum 10 points in the event.
Harriman also ran to a ninth-place finish in the 200 meters at the Apple Blossom meet, completing a strong effort in all four of her events.
Still, it was the high jump that Harriman was most concerned about before heading to Winchester last Saturday. Harriman had good memories from the previous Apple Blossom Invitational -- she won the long jump, took second in the high jump and was third in the 200 as a junior.
"Last year I had a really good day there," Harriman said. "I was really excited to go back and do the same thing this year."
Yeck was convinced that Harriman was ready to break through in the high jump, and he was right. Harriman cleared 5-2 on her first try.
With that mental barrier overcome, Harriman is ready to move on to her next challenge.
"I'm definitely going to set the bar higher," she said. "I'm hopefully going to be making 5-4 in the next few weeks."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>